ART Society

Seven-year-old in Madurai sells his paintings worth ₹50,000 for charity

On the eve of his seventh birthday on December 27, Rithun Kunal’s parents organised a surprise gathering in the lawns of their house. Friends and acquaintances dropped in to see the 50 paintings Rithun had drawn in the last eight months. In less than four hours, all the paintings were sold. “People paid real money and took them,” the child artist exclaims, unable to understand what all the fuss is about.

His mother, Preethika Gandhi Kunal, spotted the youngster’s penchant for vibrant colours ever since he could hold the paintbrush at the age of two-and-a-half years. “What he draws does not require great artistic skill but I found his fondness for shapes and patterns and the way he colours them in contrasting shades too good for his age,” she says.

That her son utilised the lockdown months productively rather than getting hooked to gadgets is what makes Preethika happy. Between March and November, Rithun spent approximately 200 hours with his canvasses and colours and his parents felt his perseverance deserved an applause.

Seven-year-old in Madurai sells his paintings worth ₹50,000 for charity

So they decided to hold a sale-cum-exhibition of his artworks in acrylic and it sprang a surprise when the two most expensive paintings with a price tag of ₹2,000 each were the first to go. A visitor from UK fell in love with a colourful doodle while a city doctor picked up a painting of two giraffes done in unusual colours. The possibility of donating the money to sponsor the education expenses of children from disadvantaged backgrounds emerged.

“I randomly priced the paintings from upwards of ₹250 depending on the size of the canvas and the time he spent to complete them,” says Preethika, an ophthalmologist with Aravind Eye Hospital, who herself paints for relaxation. She says she did not expect all the paintings to sell.

The exhibition was mainly to showcase how children can be encouraged to spend quality time at home. “I have always encouraged Rithun to paint and be messy,” says Preethika.

Seven-year-old in Madurai sells his paintings worth ₹50,000 for charity

Ask the class II student of Lakshmi School about his favourite painting and prompt comes the reply: the one on the pandemic. The frame is a collage — one half shows the virus with spikes on a dark night with dead vegetation around; it merges with the other painting of the virus decimated by a bright sun and greenery coming alive.

Appealing to the eye, it reflects the thought process of a sensitive little boy.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 12:40:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/seven-year-oldin-madurai-sells-his-paintings-worth-rs50000-for-charity/article33451037.ece

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